BLACK ACTION DEFENSE COMMITTEE CELEBRATES 25 YEARS [Weekly Gleaner, The (Canada)]
(Weekly Gleaner, The (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) LENNOX FARRELL, one of the founding members of the Black Action Defense Committee (BAD-C) said the grassroots committee was formed out of despair and determination 25 years ago in Toronto.
"Given the anti-black racism happening in the city. These concerns included at the most elemental, the arbitrary and humiliating stopping, searching and arresting of Black youth," said Farrell. BAD-C's nemesis was and is the Toronto Police Force. "In the case of Toronto Police killing black men, even when these went to court, the results were 100 per cent acquittals," said Lennox.
The best we could get were Coroner Inquests and that meant the police officers got off scott-free," explained B. Denham Jolly, another founding member of BAD-C.
This led to frustration, admitted Farrell, who remembered one such acquittal; and then having to endure watching the accused police officer walk out of the courthouse with cowboy boots, a cigar in mouth and a big smile. As a result, the Special Investigative Unit, the first of its kind formed in the British Empire and Commonwealth, it still operates today.
INSTRUMENTAL The late Charles Roach and Dudley Laws were instrumental in forming BAD-C. Farrell said that Laws was the spokesperson, while Roach was the strategist. BAD-C represents a federation of the Caribbean. By the next Dudley Laws Day, BAD-C hopes to have a narrative similar to the American Slave Narratives. The U.S government had sioned the when they realised that generation was dying and their untold stories with them.
"When you go through racism, it's not an easy thing," said Nomvuyo Hyman, also a founding member of BAD-C. "We are coming from a long road of struggle," said Hyman.
Lowell Hall, today director of operations of LH Metropolis Communications, a public relations company was only a child when he saw his mother, Sharona Hall, on the evening news being arrested by police and thrown into the back of a police van with other protesters. Farrell's wife, Joan, was arrested by police and accused of shoplifting make-up from a store. A fabricated story because the day the police said she was shoplifting she was at a banquet.
"Who could have guessed that the laws of Marcus Garvey would be taught in schools today, who could have guessed we would have a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, who would have guessed that Nelson Mandela would become the first black president of South Africa," said Professor Trevor Munroe, executive director of National Integrity Action (NIA) of Jamaica and keynote speaker for the evening. "Why does Dudley Laws not have national honours in Jamaica?" asked Munroe. Munroe promised to spread the word about the good works the Committee has been doing for the last 25 years.
Munroe's NIA is a registered not-for-profit organisation in Jamaica with the objective of combating corruption and building integrity since 2011. And it is working. The Jamaican Police Force recently dismissed 50 police officers for corruption.
Award recipients this evening were B. Denham Jolly (President's Award); Winston Larose (Dudley Laws Memorial Community Service Award); Paulette Clarke-Domize (Charles Roach Memorial Empowerment Award); Lillie Johnson (BAD-C Lifetime Achievement Award); and Thando HymanAmin (Dudley Laws Mentorship Award).
(c) 2013 The Gleaner Company